A quarterback who needed only a couple of months to become a team leader is what Will Muschamp says South Carolina has in Jake Bentley.
Muschamp says the sophomore quarterback has already impressed his teammates and now stands on the verge of taking a “tremendous step” during an interview with Gridiron Now’s Frank Frangie and Hays Carlyon on 1010XL Jax Sports Radio at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.
“He understands how to be a quarterback, and that means all of the extra things you have to do,” Muschamp said. “You’re not a normal player, and all of the extra investment and time that he’s putting in, from the film work to understanding defenses to understanding what the other 10 guys are doing on the offensive side of the ball, to be able to talk like a coach.
“All of those things are part of being a quarterback. Thank goodness he’s a Gamecock. I think from year one to year two, he’ll make a tremendous step.”
Bentley hasn’t needed long to win over his teammates. As Muschamp noted, he was voted co-MVP by his teammates last year despite playing only the second half of the season.
“This happens every now and then, I guess, to have a guy like this who’s got that respect, whatever you want to call it, leadership ability,” Muschamp said. “The guys follow him and they listen.”
Bentley won the job midseason, taking over from Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain, and leading the Gamecocks to a bowl bid. This season, he enters the year on the watch list for the Maxwell Award.
Muschamp also discussed how one of Bentley’s top targets, tight end Hayden Hurst, wasn’t originally projected at the tight end position. But that’s where he’s ended up, and he’s found success there in large part due to his work ethic.
“Every time I go into the weight room, he’s there,” Muschamp said. “Whether it’s in the morning or the afternoon. I don’t know what the guy does all day.”
In the big picture, though, Muschamp knows Bentley and company have one major target, and it’s the same one everyone else in the SEC is trying to hunt down.
“I hear all of this East-West stuff – drives me nuts,” Muschamp said. “We’re all chasing Alabama. Nobody over there (in the SEC West) is beating them either.”
Listen to the full interview by clicking the link below:
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